Posted in Be The Change, Life Coaching, Recovery Coaching

Are You Living Courageously?

Recovery Coaching

The theme of the week has been courage and vulnerability...and without sounding like one of Brene Brown’s PR team, it really does keep coming up over and over again with the individuals and groups that I coach.  And so often this last week, the conversations have gone to where people feel they need to show up courageously in their lives and be able to ask for what they need; emotionally, socially, spiritually, mentally and physically.  Being vulnerable as an eight on the Enneagram is extremely challenging for me at times, as this requires me having no control over what might or might not happen in any given situation and learning to be comfortable with that.  And believe me that scares the crap out of me on a good day, never mind a day when I am feeling a little insecure about myself.  And those days come even with all the tricks, tools and techniques I have at my disposal as a coach.

Of course, there are plenty of situations in any given day or week that require me to allow my vulnerability to be tapped into as a personal strength.  Whether this is asking my partner for support or love, reaching out to a colleague on a project or letting down my guard with the clients that I work with in the addiction treatment centre.  And when I do this, the most incredible things happen and I feel authentic and congruent within myself.  It’s when I feel spiritually connected to myself and the world around me, as if hooked up to the universe by a powerful force of love and acceptance.

Then all of a sudden I can be disconnected from this sense of presence and belonging, trapped in the crazy of my thoughts!  And try as I might, there are times when getting out of my head and into my body can be extremely difficult.  Personal development, conscious living and awareness are wonderful when I am plugged into the world through my executive thought functions in my prefrontal cortex, but when something short circuits in the inner workings of my brain and I suddenly go “offline” because of an event that has triggered me, it’s not always easy to come  back into my body and reconnect back into the universal energy.  That’s when having the mindsight to see what is going on, and how I am not doing what I know works, can just be frustrating!

There is no magic to any of this.  It’s about using those little tools and tricks that I’ve learned, and teach to others, consistently and patiently.  I’ve never professed to be a master at any of this, just another soul navigating the roads, avenues and boulevards of life.  I know that hitting the pause button between stimulus and response is incredibly effective – when I am able to find the sometimes elusive pause button. This doesn’t always happen! Of course there are times when I am able to catch myself and S.T.O.P. (Stop–Take Three Breaths–Observe–Proceed) which is one of Deepak Chopra’s little tricks to bring ourselves back into the present.

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And I have learned to T.H.I.N.K. more often, before I fire off a series of reactive retorts in the heat of the moment.  So I S.T.O.P. and ask myself, “Is it TRUE?  Is it HELPFUL? Is it INSPIRING?  Is  it NECESSARY? Is it KIND?” before being thoughtless with my words.  Often I don’t get past the true bit, and it’s a wonderful tool when I use it.  But as I have mentioned I am perfectly imperfect when it comes to keeping it all real, and of course there are times when I say and do things in that cowgirl-style of mine, having to go back later and sweep the debris off the saloon floor after the verbal gunfight!

The real power though, is if I allow myself to remain vulnerable with myself and the people around me.  I find it less likely that I am going to feel under threat from the people I interact with when I adopt this mindset.  That if I am courageous in my daily life and speak with a gentle compassion to myself and others, I have the ability to stay in my authenticity.  And the irony of it is that when I am being vulnerable and open, I feel incredibly strong.  By exposing my softness I am actually more protected than if I put on  masks, build walls and armour myself in preparation for how the world’s going to, maybe, fuck me over.

So, going back to my original thoughts; over the course of the week as this theme was discussed in the coaching groups that I facilitate, I realised that there are so many people letting down their fake personas of strength and infallibility.  Watching vulnerability and courage finding their voice in men and women who have long been silenced by the guilt and shame of addiction is nothing less than an honour and a privilege.  As mothers and fathers talk of breaking the cycle of substance abuse in their families and showing up for their children differently to their parents, I feel the genuine desire for change.  When individuals allow their truth to find a space and explore their deepest core beliefs and values, I am humbled by the tenacity of the human spirit.  Many times over the last week I have seen people share from places deep within them, bringing fears, insecurities and humility into the light, instantly diminishing their stranglehold on their hearts and souls.

And the more vulnerably I show up in this space, the more unspoken permission there is for real healing and growth.  When I am authentic and congruent, speaking my truth, others are shown that there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to being ourselves.  Rather that each and every person has the personal power to show up and be heard, seen and loved if they are ready to allow themselves to drop the shields we all carry and let their courage, authenticity and vulnerability guide them towards their true purpose in life, whatever that may be for them.

Posted in Recovery Coaching

What is Recovery Coaching?

From a Culture of Addiction to a Culture of Recovery

The power of any form of coaching lies in the coach’s ability to create and hold a safe space for a client to explore their ideas, needs wants and goals, in a solutions-driven, forward-focused manner.  The client is given the opportunity to build their self-esteem and confidence through being encouraged and supported to find answers to their unique life situations.  Recovery Coaching is no different in that respect.

Substance abuse and addictive behaviour disorders are issues that touch almost everyone I have met, either directly through their own personal experience or indirectly through family, friends and colleagues.  Mired in stigma, people are often afraid to reach out and seek assistance, imprisoned in their shame and guilt about how they might be judged.  Recovery Coaching is a model designed to empower such individuals, families, communities and organisations to move forward and develop a life that is productive, fulfilled and purposeful.  Due to the systemic nature of addiction, Recovery Coaching aims not only to assist the addicted individual, but to also work with those impacted by the situation.

As coaching unfolds with people, the focus of the conversation often revolves around issues such as family, relationships, career or study, and living authentically, rather than addiction.  As this niche coaching model is not meant to replace any of the other professions such as social work, counselling, therapy and inpatient treatment, it is used to help people rebuild their lives through the development of Recovery Capital, which is the unique set of internal and external resources that the client develops to support long-term recovery and wellness.

Through the session a client is asked powerful questions which gives them the opportunity to identify the available resources that they might already possess, as well as identify and focus on the development of additional resources to bring meaning and purpose back into their lives.  By growing emotional, social, mental, physical and spiritual Recovery Capital, the client is empowered to take personal responsibility for their past, so that they can begin to become accountable to themselves and others.  No two people’s resources are the same, but it essential that they are consistently topping up the Recovery Capital Bank so that it can be drawn on during challenging times, while creating a sense of achievement, fulfilment and connection in the process.

The Recovery Coach’s role is to build an accountability partnership with their client, so that he/she is given the space to uncover what is most achievable and sustainable given their personal situation.  Recovery Coaches are tasked with helping their clients shift to a solution during the course of a coaching session and series.  Developing rapport and trust with individuals and their support systems is an essential element of the coaching work, as an individual’s recovery has a rippled effect into their personal and professional lives.  The focus isn’t addiction, but recovery and how to move forward in life.  Acknowledging what has brought them to this point, but also honouring their journey moving forward, leaving behind a Culture of Addiction and moving into a Culture of Recovery.

As a Recovery Coach, it is imperative to allow the client to follow their own agenda, free of judgement, while they determine their needs, wants and values and work on plans to move into the next phase of their lives.  During the coaching series, many life and executive coaching tools are utilised to assist with planning, goal setting and problem solving, because committing to actions at the end of the session is a priority.  Developing healthy lifestyle choices is essential for those in recovery, because giving up destructive behaviours and developing new, healthy alternatives is where the majority of the coaching work lies.  As recovery and wellness grows, choice returns and the more Recovery Capital, tools and coping techniques are being developed, the more sustainable and long-lasting recovery becomes.  Spiritual principles such as honesty, willingness and openness then become the building blocks upon which recovery and wellness are built.

Because we’re all in recovery from something (not necessarily addictive substances or behaviours), engaging in coaching of any form, is a road to personal empowerment and growth.  Using models, techniques and tools that foster this is as relevant with individuals in recovery, as life or executive coaching is for others.  The agenda of a Recovery Coaching session still comes from the client, and the solutions that are arrived at are theirs alone, although sometimes the content of the session might be slightly different.  And the Recovery Coaching intervention can start at any point that a person identifies that they might require assistance around a certain behaviour.

Recovery Coaching is primarily about facilitating the shift from a Culture of Addiction where there is blame, justification and denial to a Culture of Recovery that is centred around responsibility, accountability and the practice of spiritual principles, where the victim is given the space to become the survivor.  And through this process a productive, contributory individual emerges in their own life and the lives of the people that surround them.

SELF REFLECTION ACTIVITY

So after reading this article, I’d like to invite you to spend some time thinking about which areas of your personal and professional life you might be living in a Culture of Addiction.  Do you work too hard, often at the expense of yourself and your loved ones?  Where are you blaming and justifying in your life in order to vindicate unhealthy behaviours?  Do you feel yourself playing the victim in certain situations?

Diagram Source: http://repository-intralibrary.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/

Once you have noticed where your challenges lie, think about how you can move into a Culture of Recovery by developing Recovery Capital to support you in achieving a more holistic approach to life?  The Wheel of Life is a powerful coaching tool which is used to determine which areas in life we might not be paying enough attention to.

Identify eight essential areas in your life and after reading the explanation, complete your own Wheel Of Life, and from there you will be able to get a really good idea of where you need to be developing some plans, actions and goals…and move into your personal solution using your unique set of resources to support that movement.

Life areas can include, but are not limited to some of the following:

  • Career & Business
  • Family & Friends
  • Romantic/Intimate Relationship
  • Finances
  • Spiritual Health
  • Mental/Emotional Health
  • Physical Environment
  • Fun & Recreation
  • Personal Growth
  • Health & Wellness

The Wheel of Life acts as a potential starting point in the coaching process by identifying where the client wants to work, and then focusing on the individual aspects moving forward, to create a fulfilled purposeful life of recovery and wellness.